By autumn 2017 a Strategic Board will be established to provide the high-level governance for public-sector activity in the enterprise and skills system, in order to enhance economic performance. In establishing the Strategic Board we will build on the work of Professor Lorne Crerar in his report 'Proposals on Governance and the creation of a Strategic Board' to enhance the collective delivery of the agencies.
The Board will be independently chaired and consist of the Chair of each of the agencies and non-executive members drawn from business, local government, skills, research and trade union communities.
In order to ensure a quick and smooth transition between the current and the new arrangements, we committed to establish a temporary Implementation Board to lay the groundwork for this Strategic Board in the period to end September.
Remit of the Implementation Board
The Implementation Board will take forward and build on Professor Crerar's governance proposals to establish a Strategic Board. The Implementation Board's remit is to lay the foundations for the Strategic Board, so that it can commence with an agreed approach and a clarity of purpose. The Implementation Board will establish the functions of the Strategic Board, develop the work streams it will drive, and agree the manner in which it will operate.
This will be done in recognition of the Strategic Board's aims, which will be to:
- improve the overall performance of the economy by ensuring that the whole enterprise and skills system delivers Scotland's Economic Strategy and supporting strategies, in all parts of Scotland
- through collective responsibility ensure hard alignment between Agencies to drive improvement in Scottish productivity and better support business and users of the skills system
- hold Agencies to account for performance against agreed measures, both collectively and individually
- to actively engage with other agencies and bodies who support the economy with a view to increasing alignment and challenging others where collaboration is not happening
- to deliver wider collective leadership, based on common culture and values, and which inspires and empowers delivery
Further, the Implementation Board will oversee the progress of the agencies in implementing commitments that came through Phase 2 of the Enterprise and Skills Review. The Implementation Board will be mindful of the broader Public Service Reform agenda and the fiscal constraints over the medium term requiring a sharp focus on value for money and return on investment across the system.
The Implementation Board will be expected to:
- develop an outline for the Strategic Plan and performance framework to be considered once the Strategic Board is established
- establish the cross-cutting priorities that will need to be an early focus for the Strategic Board and, where helpful, design and establish the Strategic Committees to rapidly deliver these priorities
- oversee progress on the delivery of the wider E&S Review workstream actions and recommendations that will fall within the scope of the Strategic Board
- set out the structure, accountability and reporting arrangements for the governance supporting the Strategic Board, including guidance on how the agencies will work together, and on their roles and responsibilities
The Implementation Board will be Chaired by Professor Lorne Crerar. Its membership is set out at Annex A and is drawn from Agency Chairs (ex officio) plus leaders from business, skills, research, local government and trade unions.
In addition, officials from the Scottish Government and Agency CEOs will be in attendance to engage with the discussion drawing on their respective areas of policy and delivery, and to provide direct communication between the Board and both government and executive functions.
Meetings have been arranged around the Chair's diary, however, in the event that the Chair is unable to attend, a meeting will be chaired by an appropriate Scottish Government official. Members and Agency CEOs may send substitutes in the event they are unable to attend.
Ways of working
- central to the success of the new structure is a whole-system approach, with the agencies working openly and collaboratively with each other at all levels
- the Implementation Board will draft an operational framework, which will set out the working relationships between the agencies and identify roles, responsibilities and agreed working practices
- the Implementation Board will be supported by a secretariat function and the emerging Analytical Unit, initially drawing from the Scottish Government and incorporating resources and expertise from the four agencies
- the Implementation Board is likely to set up a number of short-life projects to deliver on its objectives set out above. Official support for these projects will be essential and Board Members may also wish to contribute to particular projects
- it is anticipated that the Implementation Board will work with a high degree of transparency, with (at least) its decisions being made available through the Scottish Government website
- the Implementation Board will be accountable to Scottish Ministers, who will receive regular progress updates. The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, and potentially other Ministers, may attend to provide a direct channel of communication between the IB and Ministers
- decisions will be made through seeking broad agreement amongst board members, recognising that consensus will not always be possible. Voting by members will be a last-resort means of decision-making but in the event of differing views, formal decisions of the Board can be taken by majority of attending Members. In the event of a tie the Chair will have a casting vote
The quorum of the Board will be a majority of currently appointed Members, including the Chair. If not quorate, the members present may decide to proceed with a meeting at which items on the agenda are considered and any recommendations reached are put to the next Board meeting for decision. All attendances and absences will be recorded in the minutes of meetings.
Participation will usually be in person, but exceptionally (with the agreement of the Chair through the Secretariat) individual members may participate by telephone or video-conference. Such members will be deemed to be present and to constitute part of the quorum.
Declarations of interest
Individual Members must declare an interest in relation to any matter that is to be considered as soon as practicable at a meeting where that interest arises.
Declaring a financial interest has the effect of prohibiting any participation in discussion and decision. For non-financial interest the Member should consider the relationship between the declared interest and the particular matter to be considered.
A Code of Conduct will be established for the Strategic Board to provide advice and guidance to members on such matters.
Board members are encouraged to engage in full and frank discussions at meetings. In the event that a member has a reservation regarding a particular decision, they may ask for their dissent to be formally recorded in the minute.
Procedure for urgent action
A special meeting of the Board may be called to deal with business that will not wait until the next scheduled meeting. Alternatively, where it is necessary for decisions normally requiring the approval of the Board to be taken in the period between Board meetings, the Chair may deal with the matter(s) by correspondence.
In these circumstances relevant papers will be circulated by email with a response, including nil response, required from all members Actions/decisions taken by way of correspondence will be reported to the subsequent Board meeting.
Secretariat functions will be provided by the Scottish Government's Enterprise and Skills Programme Management Office.
Agendas, papers and minutes
Any member can, by contacting the Secretariat, suggest agenda items. The agenda will be decided by the Chair.
Items provided for information will be marked as such on the agenda. If members wish to discuss any such items they should notify the Secretariat in advance of the meeting.
In normal circumstances the Secretariat will aim to distribute an agenda and accompanying papers no later than one week before a scheduled meeting.
Minutes of each meeting will be submitted to the subsequent meeting for approval.
In normal circumstances, agendas, papers, and minutes will be published routinely and promptly on the Implementation Board web page.
The Implementation Board will meet monthly, with four meetings arranged for: 28 June, 31 July, 30 August and 28 September.